[New Delhi] An extension to the homegrown luxury brand Napa Dori, Café Dori has been receiving rave reviews since it opened in Delhi.
A menu that comprises of delectable European favourites, complete with beautiful presentations and flavours, has made the café one of the trendiest places in the city to dine and be seen at.
Gautam Sinha’s Napa Dori has always had a niche upmarket clientele lusting over the high-quality trunks, bags, and other accessories that he started selling at the beginning of this decade.
A move towards food was surprising at first, but keeping in mind the immaculate craftsmanship that Napa Dori prides in.
It was a welcome addition to the changing culinary scene of the country.
Originally started as part of their Mumbai store, Café Dori’s space in New Delhi is genre defining and comes with its own set of quirks and wonders.
In Delhi, Café Dori is a part of the Napa Dori shop in Dhan Mills Compound which in turn comprises of “warehouses” that host studios, a theatre, gym, and designer shops.
The place attracts a rather specific following however with the success of Café Dori, it has become the go-to place to meet friends, mingle, relax over coffee or a meal.
As a warehouse, there is an atmosphere of openness upon entering Café Dori with lots of space to walk around.
I am happy that they haven’t overcrowded it, which would be good for business, but could hinder with the aesthetics.
One side is designated for the shop, while a majority of the space is allotted to the café that has a semi-industrial feel to it.
A separate section that was cornered off has a workshop and library for design enthusiasts along with an Enfield motorbike stationed to add a sense of cool to the scene.
Café Dori’s ambience is exceptionally relaxed, yet classy. Dyson fans placed around the room, to battle the heat of the city, look modish as does the framed dictionary with “hygiene” highlighted, in the bathroom.
In fact, as weird as it may sound, do head on out to the toilet in the café if you are a Potterhead for instead of the average “bathroom music” you get to listen to an audiobook of the famous series.
The food at Café Dori is its true champion and accolade worthy.
Reviews from my family and friends have placed the pasta and salads at the café as among the best in the city.
But for me, it was their All-Day Breakfast menu that satiated my craving for eggs as well as proper nourishment.
The highlight of my meal was undoubtedly the Turkish Eggs (Rs 375, SGD7.45) which was a burst of flavour with its perfectly poached eggs in garlic infused Greek yoghurt and the chilli butter adding a punch to each bite.
Their Salmon Croffle (Rs 475, SGD9.45) which consists of taking a croissant and heating it on a waffle iron is a brilliant little idea which gives a nice crunch besides all the extra toppings that makes it tasty.
For dessert, I went with the Mango Croffle (Rs 425, SGD8.45). While the fresh mangoes were not the best, this being the end of the season, their mango ice cream was absolutely delicious.
One of the biggest reasons for Café Dori’s success, besides the food, is that it is dog-friendly.
This unique aspect makes the environment more natural as I saw dog lovers mingling over coffee in the “open” area of the restaurant while others inside had come with their pets for family lunches.
However, I did find the management to be a little stubborn. They are courteous, and the service was excellent, but their breakfast menu, the only thing available during the first two and a half hours of operations, is extremely limited.
A few of the people on my table had to leave as being non-egg eating vegetarians there just want’s much for them to eat. And, a request to make an exception was denied.
Similarly, they were a little clueless about how to accommodate us in the beginning. We were told that tables can’t be moved around, so we had to squeeze in a little.
I must say that eating at Café Dori was a pleasant surprise.
Having a niche has become extremely important in this volatile business, but it is always the dishes, the ingredients, the sharpness of the seasonings, and the ability to entice the palate that finally pushes any restaurant to the next level.
Once you put aside the oddities, the style quotient, the dog friendliness, what really matters is that the food at Café Dori is distinct and phenomenal and reason enough to drive down there.
* Written by DFD’s India Correspondent @tickereatstheworld. Raghav is a travel and food writer who enjoys the thrill of discovering new places and writing about them. When he is not working, he can be found driving around his two kids from one birthday party to another.